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How Long Should A Yoga Pose Be Held

How Long Should You Hold A Yoga Pose For Maximum Health And Spiritual Benefit


Since I started doing yoga to complement my running routine, I was wondering how long should I hold a yoga pose. If I am in class, the instructor always goes onto the next pose, and I follow her. In that setting, the answer is evident. But what if I am doing yoga alone, at home. Well, then the answer is not so clear. As it turns out, the duration of a yoga pose depends on the type of yoga you are doing. So there is no definitive answer to the question: how long should you hold a yoga pose?

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Baxter Bell, MD, is a yoga teacher and educator, physician and medical acupuncturist. These days he focuses on teaching yoga full time, both to ordinary students of all ages and physical conditions, and to the next generation of yoga teachers, to whom he teaches anatomy and yoga therapy along with his accessible, skillful style of yoga. Baxter brings a unique perspective to his teaching, combining his understanding of anatomy and medicine with his skill at instructing people from all walks of life and all levels of ability. Baxter is the co-founder and writer for the popular Yoga for Healthy Aging blog, where he shares his knowledge of medical conditions, anatomy, and yoga with practitioners and teachers across the world. In addition to being a frequent presenter at Yoga Journal Alive events and yoga conferences such as IAYT’s SYTAR, he is often quoted as an expert on yoga and health by major national news outlets such as The Washington Post and Wall Street Journal. To learn more, visit,, and his YouTube channel Baxter Bell Yoga.


What Are The Factors That Influence How Long You Should Hold A Yoga Pose

  • Style of yoga: This is obvious.
  • Your physical fitness: The stronger and more flexible you are, the longer you can hold certain yoga poses.
  • Your yoga experience: Logic dictates that more experienced people can hold yoga poses for longer.
  • Your age: Children and the elderly should pay special attention to what their body says.
  • Injuries: Muscle tears can make certain poses more painful than they would be normally.
  • Your state: When you are tired, exhausted or burned out, you might not be able to put as much energy into your yoga practice as you normally would.
  • Your clothing: If you wear clothing that is unfit for yoga, you are not going to stretch very far. See our reviews of the best yoga pants to make the most of your yoga classes.

This Might Be Interesting To You: Essential Elements To Be A True Yogi

The time spent in the postures in the Iyengar Yoga Method .

In Iyengar Yoga, the time spent in the postures differs from other styles or methods of yoga described above. Since the time of permanence and the sequence that is practiced are fundamental elements in its practice. If you are not present in the pose long enough, the mind does not evolve in yoga poses and we will be practicing gymnastics instead of receiving the benefits of yoga. So the only part of our body that is going to be working is the external one.

Average times of 30 seconds to 1 minute are initially recommended. But as the body responds without violence, they must stay a little longer in the positions, to be able to breathe in the position, perceive and balance. And make the mind in its deepest layers begin to surface in the posture. That is why the limit of permanence is measured rather by the state of the body and the state of the mind of the practitioner, but they are not barriers that must not be passed. How Long To Hold Yoga Poses.

New Recommendations For Building Bone And Muscle Strength With Yoga:

How Long do you Hold a Yoga Pose?

  • For building bone strength, hold yoga poses for 30 seconds or more, if possible. 

  • For building muscles using isotonic and eccentric contraction with a mini-vinyasa, do the vinyasa slowly for six repetitions, possibly for two sets of six. As you increase in strength, you can add more reps per set. 

  • For building muscles isometrically with a mini-vinyasa, hold the full yoga pose for 8-10 seconds for six repetitions, possibly for two sets of six. For example, if you were doing the Warrior II mini-vinyasa, you would inhale from the starting position into the full pose, hold full Warrior II for four breaths, and then exhale back into the starting position. 

  • For building muscle strength and endurance in static yoga poses, hold a full pose isometrically until your targeted muscles become shaky and feel fatigued, and then exit the pose. The length of time you hold the pose could be short if you are weak, out of shape, or recovering from injury, or much longer if you are healthy and relatively strong to start. You can gradually build up your length of time in the pose as your strength increases.

  • In general, do your strength practices every other day to allow a day off for muscles to rest and repair, which is part of the muscle building process.  

    Stick With Challenging Poses To Build Muscle Strength And Confidence

    Iyengar teacher Patricia Walden thinks that two key actions help students cultivate confidence: repeating poses and holding them for long periods of time. Some poses might be difficult to hold. But you can repeat them in order to build tenacity. Aim to hold these poses, especially the three Virabhadrasanas , for 20 seconds or as long as you can to ignite your willpower. Over time, increase your hold times to build endurance. “Muscular action is the most direct expression of willpower in our body. These poses engage muscular action and strength. From that you develop confidence,” says Walden, who adds that introspection is part of the process.

    When you want to come out of a pose, see if you can stay with the discomfort a few more seconds. There are psychological benefits to challenging yourself to do something you’ve never done before. “It took me a year to do Handstand. When I finally was able to balance on my hands, it was transformative,” says Walden. “Working through difficulty requires tapas , and you feel your power. Doing something when your mind or body says it doesn’t want to—that’s empowering.”

    The Type Of Yoga Affects How Long To Hold Yoga Poses For Beginners

    How long to hold yoga poses for beginners depends on the pose and the type of yoga you practice. Flowing yoga styles such as Vinyasa, AshtangaPower yoga encourage movement over holding postures.

    Constantly moving makes you concentrate on your body and clear your mind. There is a strong emphasis on how you feel mentally and physically overall.

    Slow-paced yoga styles such as Yin, Restorative, Iyengar, or Hatha yoga focus on practicing each pose one at a time. Hold yoga poses for a long time to stretch, relax and breathe deeply.

    It is highly recommended to find the type of yoga that is right for you. It depends on your preferences, your needs and your goals. Try them out and see what feels right for you.

    It is very important to listen to your body closely. If you do, you will progress safely and avoid injuries. Try to feel how long your body needs to say in each pose and when to stop.

    Push yourself little by little to build strength and flexibility. Step out of your comfort zone progressively. Discomfort is ok but pain is not.

    Pain is your body telling you that something is wrong. Stop and adjust accordingly. Yoga should make you feel amazing. It is a reward for your body, mind and soul.

    Different Types Of Yoga And Their Recommended Pose Hold Duration

  • Hatha Yoga– Spend 1 minute on each asana.
  • Ashtanga Yoga – Each pose is held for approximately 5 to 10 breaths, from 30 seconds to 2 minutes.
  • Iyengar Yoga – The poses are held for 5 to 30 minutes, this varies from one pose to another.
  • Vinyasa Yoga– As you move from one pose to another, you can hold each pose from 15 to 30 seconds.
  • Yin Yoga – The different poses can be held from 1 minute until 20 minutes, it depends on the individual’s practice.
  • Bikram Yoga – It usually depends on the pose, it normally lasts for 20 seconds to 2 minutes.
  • Before you start performing yoga, you have to do some preparation and you must have the determination to do it. Make sure to meditate for at least 10 minutes, stretch the body, lengthen the spine, and prepare the different joints of the body to be able to endure the intensity of a prolonged pose.

    Each individual varies from one another. One person may be capable of holding a yoga pose for a long time and the other can only hold it for a short time. As you practice yoga regularly, you will be able to increase the length of holding a pose over time. It is also important to consider the mind’s ability to focus during the duration of the pose. As you know, holding poses offers a lot of benefits, as you continue your practice, you will be able to accomplish your goal and enjoy the benefits of holding a yoga pose at the same time.

    How Long Should You Hold A Yoga Pose In Different Yoga Styles

    For example I started doing bikram yoga.There a pose can go anywhere between 20 second up to 2 hours. However different studios differ on this, even though buckram yoga should follow a very strict order of poses. Vinyasa yoga looks more like a continuous dance, a flow. There a yoga pose can last anywhere between 5 seconds and 20 seconds. Since Ashtanga focuses on breathing more, there a pose can go on for at least 45 seconds, but more importantly you always have to perform at least five breaths in one pose. Hatha yoga is the most straightforward, they hold each pose for one minute. In Yin Yoga you might hold passive stretches for up to five minutes.

    No matter which style of yoga you start, it will help you challenge your limiting beliefs, master your body and calm down your mind. A good rule of thumb to follow when holding yoga poses, is that they are not intended to cause you any harm. If you feel pain or you feel yourself stretching way beyond your comfortable limits, you should stop. There is a sweet spot you can hit where you are pushing yourself just enough that you are out of your comfort zone, but you are not causing yourself any long term injuries. There is a sweet spot to reach between attempting to get better and tolerating pain.

    But shouldn’t you keep poses as long as possible? How long should you hold a yoga pose? Well, as I wrote you want to avoid long term injuries and pain. The secret is to build up gradually, each time holding a pose a little longer.

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    • Another way to determine how long to hold the position is to inhale and exhale, up to five times during the process of holding a pose, but only if the position can be held without discomfort. Remember, the main goal is to be able to achieve the pose, while maintaining a comfortable position. Understanding safety while practicing physical yoga is vital to achieving these poses, so as not to cause any harm to the body. It is crucial to understand that Hatha Yoga is not a race, and taking the time to do the poses correctly is much more important than holding a pose for a long period of time.
    • How Long To Hold Yoga Poses.

    How Long Should You Hold A Yoga Pose For Meditative Effects

    Holding a yoga pose for several minutes calms down the mind. It is like meditation. But it takes practice. And being present to the moment. The first time you try this you will start thinking about an angry conversation you had with somebody, or what you had for breakfast. But after a while you will be able to stay in the present and declutter your mind.

    So how long should you hold a yoga pose to achieve this effect? There is no concrete answer. There are several factors that influence this, but as a general rule just listen to your body and hold the pose as long as you don’t feel severe pain.


    Should You Hold A Yoga Pose For A Long Time Or A Short Time

    Experiment with holding a pose for a long time and a short time. This way, you can get the benefits of each category. Practicing yoga asanas is a great way to improve your physical, mental, and emotional health but only when you do them efficiently. 

    Focus on finding the balance between challenging your body and pushing its boundaries, and honoring what it can do at the present moment. Listen to your body, so you can move mindfully and avoid hurting yourself. And as always, move with your breath.

    Factors That Determine The Duration You Hold A Yoga Pose

    13+ Yoga Headstand How Long To Hold

    There are many determining factors to consider when deciding how long to hold a certain yoga pose for. Each pose should be held for a minimum of one full inhale and exhale and each breath should be long, slow and deliberate, making sure to fill your lungs completely before exhaling.  The following is a list of key questions to ask yourself before or as you begin your practice.


    How am I feeling?

    Check in with yourself physically and mentally. Is your mind filled with racing thoughts of things that need to be done, something embarrassing you said or did? Things that are beyond your control? Is your heart beating fast or slow? Are your muscles especially tight anywhere? Are you tired and need to cultivate energy or are you fired up and need to calm down? Are you stressed or anxious and need to relax? If you are looking to calm down and relax hold poses for a longer amount of time.


    Do I have any injuries?

    If you are starting a new practice with an injury or coming back to practice after an injury, it is super important to pay attention to and listen to your body so that you don’t re-injure yourself. Yoga is the perfect place to be if you have an injury because there are so many modifications and variations of poses to take that protect whatever is injured. Depending on the type of injury, it could be beneficial to hold poses for a longer time to slowly and progressively stretch the affected muscles.

    ** remember to always get an okay from your doctor before you practice!








    Why Do Some Yogis Hold Poses For Longer Periods Of Time

    With most poses, the longer you hold them, the more you end up pushing yourself. Holding a yoga pose for an extended amount of time can help improve flexibility and bolster strength. For athletes who are trying to improve flexibility, prolonged poses can add a short cut to the goal they’re aspiring to.

    Strengthen Your Body And Mind By Maintaining Yoga Poses

    Maintain yoga poses to construct self-assurance and willpower. The longer you keep a posture, the greater resistance you end up.

    A terrific example is the Warrior pose. It’s far tough to exercise at first. But keeping this pose a chunk longer each day builds staying power. If you stick with it, you will master it in no time.

    That is the beginning of your yoga journey. Via seeing development, you may sense prompted to continue and enhance yourself.

    As you give a boost to your thoughts and body, you will accomplish what you in no way idea you may earlier than. Working your way thru difficulty will increase energy, power, and discipline.

    Continually appreciate your hard work. Provide yourself a few credit scores. Understand what you can accomplish daily. it’s far honestly empowering.

    Make sure to go slowly if you are a newbie. Allow your body to adapt to the changes. Take the time to have a look at the way you sense. Do no longer overstretch and threaten any stress.

    Be mindful to breathe deeply. Breathing is vital for a terrific yoga exercise. It releases anxiety and presents strength on your muscle tissues and your brain.

    Kapalbhati pranayama is a tremendous respiration exercise to exercise daily. It builds strong abs and maintains basic health. it’s miles very energizing and boosts your metabolism, which facilitatesweight reduction.

    Should You Stop Practicing Yoga If Holding Poses Hurts

    If you find yourself having to take regular breaks, you might feel like yoga isn’t for you. This isn’t true! If anything, the fact that you have to take regular breaks should prove to you why you need to stick to your practice. 

    The longer you practice yoga, the more yoga will benefit you. You’ll start to see your strength improve. You’ll become more flexible, and your ability to endure each pose will increase little by little. After a while, your progress will make it possible to hold the pose for the recommended amount of time…and more!

    What If You Cant Hold The Pose As Long As Youd Hoped

    Though there are general guidelines people can use to try to hold a pose, the most important input you should pay attention to is the one that comes from your body. It’s important to remember that yoga should not be painful. 

    If you notice signs of unusual discomfort, pain, or dizziness, stop holding your pose and take a quick break. This is a sign that you’re pushing your body too far. If you continue to push your body, you will end up causing serious injury to yourself. 

    How Long Do You Think You Should Hold A Yoga Posture

    • There are some asanas that are not meant to be held for several minutes. It is not always true that holding a pose for an extended amount of time is best. For example, the Peacock Pose , the Eagle Pose , and the Crow Pose  are asanas that should not be performed for long, due to their ability to cause internal tension or external.
    • All meditative postures, however, can be held for long periods of time, without any complications. For these types of postures, it is actually beneficial to hold them without needing to take a break. These postures are the Easy Posture , the Dead Man’s Pose , and The Lightning Pose . These asanas are intended to strengthen the mind and spirit, while toning the body, progressively and safely.

    Child’s Pose Balasana To Help You Relax And Unwind

    From Downward-Facing Dog, simply bend your knees and lower your butt to your heels as you bring your chest toward the floor over your knees. Lower your shoulders and head to the floor. Place your arms along your sides, palms down, or you can support your head by folding your arms under your forehead. Breathe and relax for as long as you need to.

    “Child’s Pose is one of the most healing yoga poses, and it’s my favorite of them all,” says Cullis. “It awakens the connection between the breath and body and sends calming energy through all the muscles. It’s an opportunity to get grounded, go inward, and to come out of your busy mind and into your body by awakening your breath from the inside out.” Child’s Pose is a great way to take a break and relax during your yoga practice, or anytime you feel tired or overwhelmed.

    Todays Question Comes To Us From Doug From Facebook

    and he wants to know, How long should you hold a pose? In my home practice I hold poses for 4-6 breaths. In classes that I attend it’s usually less than this. In this video  you are recommending up to 10 breaths.

    Thank you for a great question Doug. To a certain extent it depends on the style of yoga you are taking. Certain styles of yoga have longer holds in yoga poses and certain styles of yoga have shorter holds. Vinyasa yoga for example flows from one pose to another with breath so there are little or no holds in the poses.

    In the style of hatha yoga I teach there are longer holds in the poses. There are a number of reasons for this.

    A number of years ago now I learned from Lucas Rockwood, a yoga teacher that in order to develop flexibility you must hold a yoga pose for at least two to five minutes. Holding yoga poses any less than 2-5 minutes simply demonstrates your existing flexibility. I really took this to heart and started increasing the hold times in my yoga practice- we are interested in developing flexibility, strength, endurance, and balance, aren’t we? We’re not simply here to simply demonstrate our existing flexibility, strength, endurance and balance – and so longer holds to me are super important to increasing our overall flexibility, strength, endurance and balance.

    What Are The Benefits Of Holding A Yoga Pose Longer

    How Long Should You Hold a Yin Pose? — Annie Au Yoga

    Holding a yoga pose longer helps you build strength and stamina. It also teaches you to overcome mental barriers and step out of your comfort zone.

    After you have been holding a pose for an extended amount of time your body goes on autopilot. Suddenly you can focus on your thoughts, think and meditate.

    If you don’t quite have the pose down to perfection, you can practice your alignment. Try subtle changes to perfect your alignment. The longer you stay in the correct alignment, the more it will burn into muscle memory. Next time you will be able to perform the pose perfectly.

    Whenever you leave your comfort zone and hold a pose successfully, you build self esteem. When you stay in the pose and your body goes on autopilot, you can focus on your thoughts. You will have certain thoughts coming up that you would not feel otherwise. I feel that I have my best thoughts while I am running, and after a certain distance my body just goes on autopilot. My thoughts wonder and I get brilliant thoughts about work, relationships or anything I am struggling with at that moment. You will have similar experiences if you hold a pose for long.

    Reinforce Your Body And Mind By Holding Yoga Poses

    Hold yoga poses to build confidence and willpower. The longer you hold a posture, the more resistant you become.

    A good example is the Warrior pose. It is difficult to practice at first. But holding this pose a bit longer every day builds endurance. If you stick with it, you will master it in no time.

    This is the beginning of the your yoga journey. By seeing progress, you will feel motivated to continue and improve yourself.

    As you reinforce your mind and body, you will accomplish what you never thought you could before. Working your way through difficulty increases strength, power and discipline.

    Always appreciate your hard work. Give yourself some credit. Realize what you can accomplish day after day. It is really empowering.

    Make sure to go slowly if you are a beginner. Let your body adapt to the changes. Take the time to observe how you feel. Do not overstretch and risk any strain.

    Be mindful to breathe deeply. Breathing is essential for a good yoga practice. It releases tension and provides energy to your muscles and your brain.

    Kapalbhati pranayama is a great breathing exercise to practice daily. It builds strong abs and keeps overall health. It is very energizing and boosts your metabolism, which helps with weight loss.

    Factors Influencing The Duration Of Your Yoga Pose

    A lot of factors can influence the duration of your yoga pose. Some of the major physiological determinants are:

    1. Your age and health status

    The human body is at the peak of its performance in its youth. So, if you are at extremes of age i.e. too old or too young then your ability to hold a yoga pose will be less than a young adult.

    Similarly, your health status can affect the timing of your pose to a great extent. For example, if you are ill then definitely your energy will be down and you would not be able to indulge in yoga for much longer.

    2. Your stamina

    Everyone has different bodily strength and capabilities. That is why it takes some people more time to do something than others of the same age and physique. It all comes down to individual stamina, which can be increased by practice and motivation.

    3. Your mental state

    Believe it or not, but your mental health has a lot of influence on your ability to hold a yoga pose. If you are mentally healthy and tension-free, you can hold a pose for more duration as compared to when you are mentally disturbed and distracted.

    4. Your motivation

    Last but not least, your motivation behind doing yoga is very important. If you are focused on your goal then nothing can budge you and you can do yoga more profoundly. So, dig that motivation of yours and channel your inner strength.


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